It has been a busy time for the Trustees of the Company Charitable Trust and…
I have had a fantastic year serving as your 21st Master and enjoyed meeting all members at our various great events within my year. We have managed to hold a full calendar of events, with a bit of juggling at the start of my year, and again in January and the beginning of February 2022.
The year started off with not only my Installation, but also that of our Wardens and Yasmeen Stratton becoming our Immediate Past Master. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, Yasmeen had one of the hardest years as Master by not being able to have one live, in-person event. I would like to thank Yas for handing the Company over to me in such great shape and with a profit that was ring-fenced for the Trust.
The subsequent Installation Lunch in Mansion House was attended by a full house of members and their guests, with the then incumbent Lord Mayor, William Russell, along with the Lady Mayoress, also in attendance. I can certainly say that my year started with a bang!
Throughout my year we have enjoyed some excellent events which I have outlined in our quarterly newsletters, but I would like to highlight the following:
- Saying goodbye to the City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson QPM at the annual Commissioners’ Dinner held at the offices of JP Morgan. The dinner this year will be with the new Commissioner Angela McLaren in September
- The Annual Dinner in the magnificent Grand Hall of the Old Bailey, where Alderman & Sheriff Alison Gowan presented the Sheriffs’ Award for Bravery to Lukasz Koczocik. Alison said that presenting the award in the Old Bailey was so perfect as it’s the home of not only the Sheriffs but also where the Board of Honour and book of past recipients is kept.
- Also at the Annual Dinner, awarding the RMP Provost Marshal Sword to Frederick Carter, presented by the RMP Provost Marshal Vivienne Buck.
- Common Hall with Alderman & Sheriff Nicholas Lyons presenting certificates to all the Sheriffs’ Award finalists, and of course the loudest barks from the Security Dog of the Year Award winners.
- The Christmas celebrations are always kicked off with our Carol Service held in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London, presided over by our Hon Chaplin, The Revd Canon Roger Hall. This year was a first in that it is the only time a children’s poem, the Grinch, had been read in the Chapel and, apparently, I made a good Grinch!
- Our Christmas Lunch, like all our events in 2021, was sold out with a waiting list, which was no surprise as it was held in the atmospheric Apothecaries’ Hall and was one of the best Christmas lunches we have had; roll on 2022 and plan B lockdown!!
- The first event of 2022 was our Founders’ Service, which again was held in the Company church, the Chapel in the Tower of London, where I read out the Roll of Honour of members who had passed away since the Company was formed. Also at the service, I had the pleasure of clothing Alderman Prof Michael Mainelli as an Honorary Liveryman.
- The Spring Ball was the party of the year, where we raised thousands of pounds for ourcharitable funds, whilst having so much fun, and with a brilliant performance from anABBA tribute band.
- My wife Alison held a Consorts’ Reception within the US Embassy. The event included atour of the Embassy and was attended by a former Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, andthe wife of Aldermanic Sheriff Nicholas Lyons
- Our Liveryman’s Lunch was held at Innholders’ Hall with one of our Honorary Liverymen, the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor, Alderman Vincent Keaveny as principal guest and attended by other former Lord Mayors and Honorary Liverymen. Eighty of our Liverymen also attended, with many of them saying it was one of the best lunches they have been to.
- We celebrated 10 years of our Apprentice Scheme in the RAF Club, with all of our apprentices present, and Alderman & Sheriff Nicholas Lyons as the keynote speaker; we were also joined by the American Ambassador in Attendance.
- I finished my year off with the MPS Commissioner’s Dinner with Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball QPM, and Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe OBE attending.
- My final time of wearing the Masters badge was in Goldsmiths’ Hall with the launch of the Security Consortium for the Prevention of Suicide, which was founded by one of our Trustees, Vicki Vidler, who had asked me to help start this excellent initiative at our Common Hall, since when Vicki has driven it to an excellent place, with the Consortium making a real difference.
We have a great relationship with all our service affiliates.
- Lt Cdr Carla Higgins XO of HMS Medway brought her team to the Spring Ball to help celebrate and raise funds for our Charity.
- One of the highlights of my year as Master was when I had the huge pleasure of representing the Company at the RAF Regiment 80th Anniversary Celebration, which started with a Remembrance Service held at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, and then on to RAF Honington for the celebration dinner. I was also able to spend time with the Provost Marshal RAF Police whom I made made an Honorary Freeman at the Old Bailey in February.We are going from strength to strength with all our affiliates not only with HMS Medway but also the RAF Regiment, RAF Police, RMP, 35 Engineers and 3MI.One of the reasons we are all members of the Company is not only to give back to the industry, but also to help raise funds for our Charitable Trust; this in turn enables the Trust to support various security projects in helping to stop crime, and also, through the Security Benevolent Fund, helps current and former security personnel who have fallen on hard times. The Trust is in a really great place with a strong team of Trustees under the chairmanship of Claire Palmer.
We have a very good relationship with the Mayoralty, encompassing the two past Sheriffs, Alderman Michael Mainelli and Common Councillor Christopher Hayward, the current Sheriffs, Alderman Alison Gowman, and Alderman Nicholas Lyons (who, subject to election, should be the next Lord Mayor in November), together with the current Lord Mayor, Alderman Vincent Keaveny and former Lord Mayors, including Alderman Sir William Russell. I have been very lucky to have met all the above on numerous occasions, all of whom are very impressed with WCoSP and how we are progressing in the City, building relationships and taking our Livery company forward.
Throughout my year I have also been very lucky to attend various City and other Livery companies’ events; meeting most of the other Masters and becoming good friends with many and being invited to a host of different Livery events, including various Masters’ weekends. I am sure these relationships will continue to develop with the new Master.
I would like to thank the IPM, Wardens, Chairs of Committees, Court, the Clerks, the Beadle and our Accountant for all their support during my year.
A big thank you to all Liverymen, Freemen and Members for supporting me in my year, and a special thank you to those of you who have offered me specific support during my year.
On that note I have a request to make to all members: please, if you could all introduce just one new member each to the Company and who you feel would benefit from and enjoy the fellowship of this great Livery company, this would make a great difference to us and the running of the Company. We are also looking for current members to join the various Standing Committees and the Charitable Trust – please contact the Clerk if you want to know more.
With all best wishes,